Bellamy, Gopalan & Traube (2010) aimedto study if the mental health services children are receiving in foster careare making a difference for them. A two-stage combined stratification andcluster design was used to collect the sample of children (Bellamy et al,2010).
This, in turn, minimized the risk of internal validity. For outcomes,they engaged in externalizing and internalizing behavior problems using the ChildBehavior Check List (Bellamy et al, 2010). This tool has been a commonmeasurement used in previous studies of the same topic, making it an adequatetool for this study.”The findings of this study suggest thatoutpatient mental health services provided to children who have experiencedlong term foster care in the United States do not result in any improvement inchildren’s behavioral health” (Bellamy et al, 2010). In other words, thesechildren’s behavioral health are staying the same, proving that they are notreceiving the help that they need. These findings can be generalizable acrossthe mental health system as a whole, which means this study contains externalvalidity.
The researchers’ biggest limitation was that that had a hard timebalancing the different types of maltreatment for each child. One limitationthat they did not address but that I believe is important was that they do notdefine maltreatment. There are many different views of maltreatment. Therefore,defining it could have been more helpful to readers. Burns et al (2004) aimedto study how the need for mental health services in the foster care system isincreasing and how the services are currently being used. The data presented inthis study is from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (Burnset al, 2004). Due to the fact that this is a nationally represented sample,this makes the data and survey significant. The study’s design consisted of astratified two-stage sample (Burns et al, 2004).
This is appropriate for this study because itis a large sample size which makes it more statistically significant because itmore reliably reflects the population mean. Continuous t-tests were used tocontrol for multiple comparisons (Burns et al, 2004). I believe that this strengthenedtheir internal validity because it is important to know if there wassignificant difference between the means of the two groups. This study foundthat over half of the children who enter the child welfare system have emotionaland/or behavioral problems (Burns et al, 2004). These findings are statistically significantbecause previous research on the same topic have had similar findings/results(Burns et al, 2004). The authors identify five limitations. A couple of themare measurement issues and reliability and validity (Burns et al, 2004). To addon to their already mentioned limitations, when parents were reporting theirchildren’s behavior, they could have been using social desirability.
Adifferent way researchers could have approached this was maybe observing thechildren themselves so they avoid social desirability. Minnis, Everett, Pelosi, Dunn &Knapp (2006) aimed to evaluate how common mental health illnesses in childrenin the foster care system are. The children who were sampled were included ineither medium to long-term foster care or permanent foster care (Minnis et al,2006). This is good because it makes the results more generalizable to childrenin long-term or permanent foster care, emphasizing its external validity. Thestudy has a strong randomized control trial. For measures, they used the Strengths andDifficulties Questionnaire which focused on both the strengths and weaknessesof the child (Minnis et al, 2006). This is a good tool to use because it ishighly supported.
To control for internal consistency, they used the ReactiveAttachment Disorder Questionnaire (Minnis et al, 2006). Extraneous variableswere entered into the regression model one by one (Minnis et al, 2006). Thismay have increased their risk of bias.
They only studied male foster parents ifthere was no mother in the picture with the father, which may have led to bias.The main findings supported the authors’ hypothesis that almost all of thechildren studied had been maltreated and/or have mental health problems (Minniset al, 2006). The study’s biggest limitation wasthat their concern for a biased sample (Minnis et al, 2006).
While I do agreewith the mentioned limitations in the article, I do believe that there are morethat were not mentioned. The biggest one was the fact that the SDQ could havebeen filled out by the parents, which can call for potential bias and socialdesirability. Tarren-Sweeney (2017) aims to see ifthere are any changes in the mental health of children who are in long-termfoster care over a long period of time.
Researchers used the Children in Care epidemiologicalstudy of mental health children in long-term foster care (Tarren-Sweeney,2017). This was a good tool to use because it included a follow up which isalways good to have because it checks for consistency. They used the CBCL tomeasure the child’s behavior (Tarren-Sweeney, 2017). Again, this seems like a widelyused tool in studies of the same topic, making it a satisfactory tool. Tocontrol for internalizing and externalizing factors, they measured social,attention and thought problems (Tarren-Sweeney, 2017). Given the assessmentsand different aspects that were measured, this study has strong internalvalidity. Results confirmed the research question: the children studied hadextremely poor mental health.
“The findings suggest that the distribution of mentalhealth difficulties among children growing up in long-term care is unchangedover a seven-to nine-year period” (Tarren-Sweeney, 2017, p. 7). This proves thatchildren with mental health issues are not receiving the proper care that theyneed.
The authors mention two limitations: “high sample attrition andcollection of data at only two points in time” (Tarren-Sweeney, 2017). Since datawas collected during two points in time, this could make this study a causalrelationship.